We were speaking with a potential client the other day and the CEO asked at what point in the software selection process we knew which vendor would be the best solution for their company. It was an interesting question because at some point in every software selection process, we come to a point where we think we know what vendor would be the best fit for a client. However, many times when people ask this question they think that we already know the answer and that we can just skip over all of the research and tell them which vendor would fit best right then.
While we can move quickly through the software selection process and we already have an understanding of the general strengths and weaknesses of the vendors, the reality of the situation is that we don’t know which vendor would be best for any particular company until the project is complete. You would be surprised at how many interesting vendors show up on a Short List because each client has unique requirements that drive them to a particular set of vendors.
Then, when you start evaluating the Short List and you gather more information through the demo and follow up process, you find that their position in the race changes. Even after an initial decision is made, we have had clients eliminate vendors based on the outcome of contract negotiations. That is what makes our software selection process work so well. As we gather more information, you learn more and more about the software to move past the marketing hype and truly understand the capabilities of the system and their fit to your organization.
Too many companies just make a snap decision based on what they heard from others, or by just looking at a product’s momentum without truly doing an analysis of the software’s fit for their specific requirements. Make sure you take the time to move through all of the steps in a software evaluation and you may be surprised to see which product you find to be a perfect fit that you may have missed had you not done all of the steps in the software selection process.